Say a few more words to me,
don’t sleep before the dawn.
I need you to feel close to me.
My journey’s almost done.
May the last poem I have made
take on new life through your sweet lisp,
your quiet wrestle with sounds
you cannot get your tongue round.
by Георгий Владимирович Иванов (Georgii Vladimirovich Ivanov)
translated by Robert Chandler
Fun fact: Ivanov’s wife Odoevtseva, who this poem addresses, had a mild speech defect so couldn’t roll her ‘r’s. Ivanov died on 26 August 1958 hence the poems tone and themes.
Irina Vladimirovna Odoyevtseva (Ирина Владимировна Одоевцева) real name Iraida Heinike was a Russian poet, novelist and memoirist, and the wife of the poet Georgy Ivanov in her own right.